That time of year has come once more—midterms. Students are working overtime in order to finish their several-paged essays, organize their schedules for group project meetings, and spending hours studying for big exams. This is in addition to the workload they usually have anyway. It is to no one’s surprise that college is not always the best environment for students in terms of managing their mental health. Colleges across the nation are facing this dilemma, and while Simmons College tries its best, it falls short in providing the necessary resources for students.
According to the American College Health Association: National College Health Assessment, roughly 30 percent of college students report feeling depressed, so much that it is difficult for them to function. It also reported that nearly one in six college students has been diagnosed with, or treated for, anxiety. Depression and anxiety are the two highest and most common mental health concerns in college students. While Simmons College does provide support for students with the Counseling Center, the resources are insufficient to meet the student body’s needs.
The Counseling Center is available several hours throughout the week and is free and available to Simmons undergraduate, Dix Scholar, or graduate students. However, an issue that is often stated by students regarding the center is that it is difficult to make an appointment in a timely manner. There are too few counselors available, and so students who are not in need of emergency help usually have to wait for their meeting. The Center is good at taking in students who are at immediate risk and who show up in the midst of a mental breakdown. The fact of the matter is that there are students who do not want to wait until they break down to receive help. Many students want to be proactive and treat their symptoms before they get worse.
Understandably, those who need support urgently should be a higher priority and this editorial understands that resources are not always available. However, the point being made is that more attention should be given to the Center so that it can acquire resources. The well-being of the student population should be one of the highest priorities for the school. Simmons provides additional health resources online for students if the Counseling Center is not available/qualified for them, but those are off-campus and could be unaffordable for some.
Running a college is not an easy task, and this editorial has no way of knowing all of the decisions that must be made on a daily basis. Simmons College cares for its students, but in order to truly help them it must attempt to make the Counseling Center more available. Students should not have to feel like they have to wait to be helped. They should not feel that there is no point in trying to make an appointment because the schedule is too full and it would take too long to be seen. Students should not feel that they must handle their problems on their own because they do not want to take resources away from someone else who might need them more.
These issues are not new. Simmons is aware of the frustration students feel when support is limited. The answer may not be as simple as getting more counselors; it is probably more complex than that. However, Simmons should not forget that this is an issue and should work towards finding the best solution.